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International Women’s Day: Diversity stimulates debate, dynamics and productivity

A richness of debate, a different dynamic and greater prosperity for all! Enterprise M3’s women board members explain why #BalanceforBetter is so important, to mark International Women’s Day.
The Local Enterprise Partnership’s Chief Executive, Kathy Slack, has been actively recruiting for women board members. A successful campaign last spring saw the appointment of Stacey King, Group Regional Director for BT Group and Deborah Allen, Managing Director of Operational Governance at BAE Systems- bringing the total number of women on the board to five. The others are Kathy, Linda Cheung, Co-founder of Intrapreneur Nation and Julia Potts, Leader of Waverley Borough Council.
Kathy said: “By getting a real mix on your team and encouraging people to get involved, you can use diversity to get a real richness of debate, an energy in the room and importantly achieve a greater balance across people. We need to reach out and encourage people to sit on the board, to get a real diversity of thinking.”
Linda agreed and highlighted how studies have shown diversity to be profitable.
“As the McKinsey Report demonstrates the more diverse the team, the more significant the financial out-performance. You get better business decisions – more effective, more productive, more profitable - with diversity around the table because you have a richness of perspective.”
A mentor and awards judge for businesses, Linda explained how diversity is crucial for the hi-tech innovation for which the Enterprise M3 region is renowned.
“Intrapreneurship and Entrepreneurship create the innovation which is so critical for businesses’ survival and evolution,” she said “It is critical for Enterprise M3 too and what we are focused on as a region, and at the heart of all of these things is diversity. Brilliant ideas come from diversity of thinking.”
She welcomed the openness and clarity of discussion around diversity that initiatives such as International Women’s Day bring. 
“In the last 20 years, the discussion around diversity has become more honest and candid,” she said. “We didn’t have events like International Women’s Day back then, there weren’t the platforms for women to share their experience.”
Julia, in full agreement with the views on the benefits of diversity, said: “If you do get a mix, you get a slightly different dynamic. Not just because they’re women but because they’ve got different life experience. We tend to challenge more robustly than our male colleagues.”
“I really enjoy my role as leader. I am very privileged to work with great councillors and officers, both male and female, and likewise on EM3. We are a really diverse board and women bring so much to the table. As an area we are lucky to have EM3, it really is an exemplar LEP.” 
Pictured above (left to right): Stacey King, Group Regional Director for BT Group, Kathy Slack, EM3 Chief Executive, Linda Cheung, Co-founder of Intrapreneur Nation and Julia Potts, Leader of Waverley Borough Council.
#LEPWomenLeaders; #BalanceforBetter